If you’ve got an eye for it, go for it. Criteria Collection showcases pioneering designers using an open-minded and experimental approach
It can be argued that a desire to create is an intrinsic part of the human race. While some enjoy this at their leisure as they are drawn to careers in medicine, science or literature, for others it manifests itself as an innate capacity that’s impossible to ignore.
This was the case for Rachel Fry, founder, creative director and curator of Criteria. For her, the creative urge manifested in the development of spaces. Just over two years ago, the former New Yorker left everything and moved to Australia — and what a welcome addition she is.
In October 2014, Rachel opened Criteria’s showroom in Cremorne, a niche suburb in Melbourne which barely covers one square kilometre. Far from a haphazard, off-the-cuff decision, this one was carefully calculated. “Cremorne is a bit of a hidden gem,” says Rachel. “It’s a creative hub on the border of Richmond that’s teaming with agencies, other showrooms and great cafés and galleries.”
This life seems to have always been on the cards for Rachel. She studied design communication at Parsons School of Design back in New York, and “everything after that seemed to move organically towards my other design interests”, she explains. Before she flew across the Pacific to our expansive shores, Rachel worked as an art director in the Big Apple.
There can be a lot of pressure when you’re curating someone else’s creative space, but this is exacerbated when it’s your own livelihood and reputation. Finding a source of inspiration is paramount, but this is easier said than done.
For Rachel, it’s an ongoing pursuit. “Right now, the patterns, colours and patinas in nature are really inspiring me,” she says. There’s also a place for diversity and sustainability. “We try to show brands that offer recycled or sustainable parts such as Jo Wilson sculptures or 19 Greek Street furniture,” she adds.
In the future, Rachel would love to do some designer–artist collaborations. Watch this space, because with an enthused ethos and the buzz surrounding Criteria, the phrase “fending ’em off with a baseball bat” comes to mind. HD
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Written by Holly Cunneen
Originally from Home Design Volume 18 Issue 6